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Emblaze Ltd. v. Apple Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

January 29, 2015

EMBLAZE LTD., Plaintiff,
v.
APPLE INC., Defendant.

ORDER DENYING MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW AND FOR NEW TRIAL (Re: Docket Nos. 630, 631)

PAUL S. GREWAL, Magistrate Judge.

Mention HTTP Live Streaming to most people, even in Cupertino, and you are likely to get a blank stare. Mention watching live sports or other events on an iPhone or iPad, and you might at least see their eyes begin to blink. By breaking down a content stream into a series of chunks comprising HTTP-based files, HLS permits the stream to adjust to varying bandwidths and data rates. Convinced that HLS infringed its patent, Plaintiff Emblaze Ltd. filed suit against Defendant Apple Inc. A jury of nine rejected Emblaze's infringement claim, even as it rejected Apple's counterclaim that the patent is invalid.

Before the court is Emblaze's motion for judgment as a matter of law, or, in the alternative, for a new trial.[1] Apple also conditionally moves for judgment as a matter of law.[2] Apple states that "[i]f the Court does not disturb the jury's verdict and the Court's judgment..., then Apple does not request judgment as a matter of law and/or a new trial on invalidity."[3] After considering the parties' arguments, the court DENIES Emblaze's motion. Because the court denies Emblaze's motion, Apple's motion is DENIED as moot.

I.

Emblaze is an Israeli corporation dedicated to the "development and marketing of innovative high-tech technologies and products."[4] Apple is a California-based corporation that, among other things, markets phones, tablets and computers that incorporate "HTTP Live Streaming technology" capable of "real-time" broadcasting.[5] In this patent infringement suit, Emblaze alleges that Apple infringes U.S. Patent No. 6, 389, 473.

The '473 patent claims methods and apparatuses that allow "transmission of live audio and video to multiple devices" without requiring "devoted streaming servers" and permitting adjustment to "different bandwidths" where necessary.[6] As the abstract of the '473 patent puts it, the invention disclosed is:

A method for real-time broadcasting from a transmitting computer to one or more client computers over a network, including providing at the transmitting computer a data stream having a given data rate, and dividing the stream into a sequence of slices, each slice having a predetermined data size associated therewith. The slices are encoded in a corresponding sequence of files, each file having a respective index, and the sequence is uploaded to a server at an upload rate generally equal to the data rate of the stream, such that the one or more client computers can download the sequence over the network from the server at a download rate generally equal to the data rate.

Independent Claim 1 of the '473 patent is representative:

A method for real-time broadcasting from a transmitting computer to one or more client computers over a network, comprising:
providing at the transmitting computer a data stream having a given data rate; dividing the stream into a sequence of slices, each slice having a predetermined data
size associated therewith; encoding the slices in a corresponding sequence of files, each file having a respective
index; and
uploading the sequence to a server at an upload rate generally equal to the data rate of the stream, such that the one or more client computers can download the sequence over the network from the server at a download rate generally equal to the data rate.[7]

Emblaze claims that Apple's HTTP Live Streaming, which Apple introduced into its products around 2009, [8] infringes asserted '473 patent claims 23, 28, 37 and 40.

Not long after, Emblaze filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York.[9] Several months later, the case was transferred to this district.[10] After the parties initially declined to consent to magistrate judge jurisdiction, the case was assigned to Judge Armstrong.[11] Emblaze thereafter sought leave to amend its complaint to:

(1) amend the list of claims of the '473 Patent that are asserted by Emblaze so as to conform the allegations to what Emblaze has asserted in its Infringement Contentions;
(2) amend the products that Emblaze is accusing of infringement so as to conform the allegations of the Complaint to what Emblaze has learned in its ongoing investigation and from discovery thus far;
(3) remove certain allegations concerning Apple's presence in the Southern District of New York (no longer relevant now that the action has been transferred to the Northern District of California);
(4) update the firm affiliation of counsel for Emblaze and the change of venue from the Southern District of New York to the ...

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